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Energy Law

The energy sector in transition

Energy supply is undergoing a significant transition towards decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation. Renewable energies are replacing conventional production based on finite fossil resources. End consumers are becoming self-producers (prosumers) and districts and concepts on self-sufficient energy supply are emerging. Metering and billing is done automatically using intelligent systems (smart metering). This presents major challenges to all market players, from energy suppliers to traders, investors, network operators, end consumers and service providers.

Sector-specific regulatory requirements are rapidly changing and influenced by political developments at national and European level - and progressively at global level, too. New business models optimise energy consumption and power usage, and are increasingly combining electricity, gas and heat supply with industrial processes, real estate usage and mobility (sector coupling). Flexible solutions using power storage are also developing. All this generates considerable costs during the transition of energy supply - charges to the electricity consumer through taxes, surcharges and fees now account for over 50% of the price of electricity.

The specific expertise of WTS energy law experts

WTS has extensive industry experience in the energy sector and advises its clients along the path to the energy industry of the future. WTS comprehensively advises on all areas of energy law and at all stages of energy industry value chain. One special focus is on the development of new business models and contract structuring under the new framework conditions, as well as on cost optimisation for the industry.

WTS has many years of experience in advising industrial businesses on energy costs that come in the form of taxes, levies and energy law surcharges (e.g. energy tax, electricity tax, EEG and CHP surcharges), as well as on increasing energy efficiency. With an integrated energy and tax consultancy service, WTS is your reliable partner for all purposes. Our Tax and Legal departments (tax advisers, lawyers and auditors) work closely together to ensure this. By doing so, our team of experts is able to cover all areas of energy and electricity tax law. We also advise on energy management systems, processes and, if required, we provide the necessary support from auditors and IT consultants.

WTS offers the following energy law advisory services:

The EEG surcharge under the renewable energies act (EEG) can generate considerable costs for businesses that consume high levels of electricity.

The Special Equalisation Scheme permits energy-intensive businesses to reduce the EEG surcharge. Our WTS experts assist your company with making the respective applications under the Special Equalisation Scheme. This includes advice in connection with restructuring measures (start-ups, conversions, spin-offs, e.g. the founding of production companies or applying for independent business units), as well as advising on any possible effects of the EEG surcharge capping. We identify and optimise gross value-add as well as electricity cost intensity and carry out risk identification and assessment measures on your behalf, also for self-production projects, lease and facility management models, toll manufacturing models and for proportional leases of a facility. We take care of clarifying any issues with the BAFA (Federal Office of Economics and Export Control) and, if necessary, handle any official and judicial procedures.

Our experts and cooperation partners are also available to assist with auditor certificates for the Special Equalisation Scheme.

As part of an energy cost optimisation programme, we help companies of all sizes submit applications. Amongst others, these include:

  • Relief applications under energy and electricity tax legislation
  • Grant applications under the CHP Act and as part of the emissions trading allowance (electricity price compensation), including the necessary auditor certificates (with cooperation partners)

Our WTS energy experts also assist and advise on reduced and individual electricity network charges (atypical load behaviour/peak load reduction) as defined in Sec. 19 of the electricity network charges ordinance (StromNEV) as well as on special gas network charges as defined in Sec. 20 of the gas network charges ordinance (GasNEV). Furthermore our services include advising on all aspects of load management and the premiums under the interruptible loads ordinance (AblaV).

Many businesses rely on self-production through renewable energies and combined heat and power as a measure to improve the CO2 balance and to optimise costs. Our experts advise on the general requirements for EEG funding and on the market integration of renewable energies and CHP, such as

  • Direct marketing
  • Questions relating to feed-in management,
  • The EEG surcharge in connection with self-production projects.

Our advisory services also include legal support in the tender process for grant funding (CHP projects, ground-mounted PV and wind parks) including any associated questions relating to electricity and energy law (e.g. regarding provider status and tax breaks).

We offer regulatory and contractual law advice on new business models, e.g. in virtual power plants where (decentralised) producers and consumers are intelligently connected across the sector. This includes the marketing of balancing energy from bundled storage facilities as well as the integration of electro-mobility.

Such business models are subject to various regulations and require the design of new contract models. Moreover, they touch on questions of IT and data protection law, for which our experienced and highly specialised WTS team is available.

We offer contractual advice at all stages of energy value creation for electricity, gas and heat - also with respect to tax law issues.

Amongst others, WTS assists with the following energy sector-related contracts:

  • Electricity, gas and heat supply contracts
  • Energy trading contracts (e.g. framework agreements, EFET, intraday trading, balancing group cooperation)
  • Contracts for the marketing of balancing energy, of battery storage systems, of load management
  • EEG and CHP direct marketing
  • Self-production models, on-site supply, contracting agreements
  • Gas storage usage
  • Network contracts (grid connection, network usage, customer systems)
  • Agreements on special network charges for electricity and gas
  • Cooperation agreements, e.g. between the industry and new energy providers
  • Contracts for energy supply to commercial real estate, e.g. data and shopping centres

WTS assists with all legal questions relating to the use of electricity and gas networks, especially in connection with grid connection, network usage and network charges. This affects e.g. industrial areas, large commercial real estate and computer centres.

A special area of consulting has emerged following the amendment to the electricity tax law on 01.01.2018. Accordingly, an exemption from electricity tax provider status now applies in connection with customer systems as defined in Sec. 3, nos. 24 and 24a of the energy management act (EnWG), which raises many questions regarding its interpretation. Our energy law advice therefore also includes electricity tax law.

Energy management systems (EMS) provide an overview of your company's energy situation and reveal potential savings. WTS legal experts advise on all types of energy management systems (especially DIN EN ISO 50001) in terms of compliance requirements, also in connection with the Special Equalisation Scheme and the surplus settlement under energy and electricity tax law, respectively, the "surplus settlement efficiency system ordinance" (SpaEfV). Before introducing an EMS, we carry out a risk assessment procedure (scoping, QM, submission and application deadlines).

If required, you will also receive legal advice from our experts and, if applicable, support in procedures with the certifiers, the BAFA, the main customs offices and the accreditation agencies.

Alongside any legal questions, our WTS energy experts offer assistance with organisational and procedural issues, especially with the development of monitoring and reporting systems and their integration into other management systems.

Main Contact
Dr. Sabine Schulte-Beckhausen
Partner
Lawyer
Cologne
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Energy Law is a service of WTS Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

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